The Rights of a Beneficiary

The Rights Of A Beneficiary

When a person passes away, the people named as “beneficiaries” have various rights when it comes to the administration of how the deceased’s estate is distributed and how any trusts are being administered.

As a beneficiary under a Will, you have a legal right over the share of the inheritance only when it has been divided. However, you are able to obtain information on the administration of the estate before you obtain your legal right.

The “executor” or “administrator” of an estate is in charge of administering the estate according to the Will or by the rules of intestacy. They are under no obligation to share all the information with a beneficiary, but it is good practice for them to be as open as possible.

There is an obligation though for the person administering the estate to keep accounts of the estate and have them available for beneficiaries to see when asked. This ensures that they are keeping to their duties.  If a beneficiary feels that the estate is not being administered correctly, or it is being mismanaged, they have the right to take formal action.

A beneficiary only has the legal right to view a Will after the Grant of Representation has been issued as this is when the Will becomes a public document.  Most administrators, however, will allow a beneficiary to see the Will once it is known who is to be a beneficiary of the Will.

The most common issues that beneficiaries face against those administering the estate are:

  • Delays in obtaining the Grant of Representation or in administering the estate once it has been obtained
  • Information about the process not being made available, including not disclosing the accounts the administrator is obliged to keep
  • The administrators being dishonest or selling property either at undervalue or to themselves.

If a beneficiary thinks that the person administering the estate is not meeting their obligations, they can do things like requesting to view the accounts and what the estate comprises of, or even apply to remove the person from their position.  If the administrator has breached their duties, a claim can also be made to hold them personally accountable for any financial loss.

If a beneficiary does suspect that a person administering the estate is either not meeting or is breaching their duties, their best option is to take professional advice on how to approach the situation and what steps they may take to relieve the situation.

Services from legalmatters during Covid-19 pandemic

Here at legalmatters, we continue to do everything we possibly can to service our existing and new clients during these very difficult times.

Our ability to provide remote services makes us stand out from the crowd.  This means that you can deal with your will, power of attorney, probate, trust and tax advice etc all over the phone or by email and documents are sent to you by post.  We are also advising our clients on signature processes bearing in mind social distancing measures.

Meanwhile, the office continues to operate with minimal skeleton staff for the protection of our staff, clients and visitors, enabling us to still process physical documents for our clients.  If you do find that you need to call into the office for instance to have documents witnessed when it is otherwise difficult for you to arrange that with family and friends then do please get in touch.

If you would like to speak to one of our expert lawyers about your Will or administration of Probate, ring us on 01243 216900 or email us at info@legalmatters.co.uk.

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